Photographer Zen Sekizawa relies on ARRI Lighting for “The Dance”

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Exploring the breaking down of traditional ideals of Japanese refinement through the avant-garde dance form known as Butoh, “The Dance” compiles slow motion, still photography and stop-motion all lit with ARRI lighting.

Veteran commercial photographer/director Zen Sekizawa just finished a multimedia project that explores the role of Japanese women through the avant-garde Butoh dance. In “The Dance,” Sekizawa captured film, photography, and stop-motion separately and compiled the elements into one seamless 10-second looping film and two photographs. She relied on ARRI SkyPanels for the entire production.

 “I used light intensity, light movement, and light color to explore the inseparable relationship between motion and time,” she explains. “I really love the amount of intensity and saturation the SkyPanels are capable of!”

Zen Sekizawa shot her fine art photography project in three different media: slow motion, stop-motion, and still photography

Sekizawa has used SkyPanels since their launch four years ago for clients including Sephora, Moon Juice, Nike, and Beauty Blender. Sekizawa recalls her first experiences with the S120-C. “I was so impressed by the saturation and intensity of the colors and that you can access the controls remotely,” she recalls. “It was also great not to have people change the lights by climbing up on a ladder.”

Cinematographer Ernesto Lomeli and animator Musa Brooker collaborated with Sekizawa to capture slow-motion footage of breaking glass and the stop-motion of flowers flying through the air and withering away. “I had the luxury of using the SkyPanels to play with all the timing sequences and color options,” Sekizawa says. She also experimented with SkyPanel lighting effects in unconventional ways for the photography elements. “Instead of using the same set, same lighting and same look for all three media capturing, I tried lighting with different speeds,” she says. “For example, slow motion needs a lot of light output, so I used the SkyPanels S120-C to their full potential.”

Sekizawa: “With SkyPanels, it’s very easy to control color and intensity, and the quality of the light is really nice.”
“The effects are great to work with,” she continues. “We had two fast strobes going off at once, which we used for the slow-motion sequences, for example. There’s no way I could use any other lighting fixture to capture the color and timing. Using the SkyPanels in this experimental way was fun and special.” Sekizawa and her lighting team were able to use an iPad and small Wi-Fi router to control the production’s two SkyPanel S120-Cs remotely. The project also used three ARRI L7-Cs and two L5-Cs.
The crew built a set around a Butoh dancer who – via the composited elements – is interacting with time. “The SkyPanel features were used to explore the concept of time through color, movement, and stillness,” she says. “Other brands’ continuous lighting fixtures have bad fall-off, but that’s not the case with SkyPanels. With SkyPanels, it’s very easy to control color and intensity, and the quality of the light is really nice.”
“The Dance” can be found on Sekizawa’s website and on Vimeo. “Many people are unaware of the historical contribution of Japanese women to Japanese culture, and I wanted to break down the traditional and conservative stereotypes,” she says. “I love how SkyPanels helped me tell that story.”
The ARRI SkyPanel S120-C is fully tuneable from 2,800K to 10,000K, offers a vibrant color selection (RGB+W color gamut) and high color rendering as well as large aperture (1290x300mm). The fixture is ideal for vertical lighting and also offers low power consumption (400 W Nominal), output that is brighter than 2KW tungsten soft light, and fully dimmable from 0 to 100%. 
Photos: Zen Sekizawa 
Go behind-the-scenes of the photoshoot.

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